A magistrate court has conditioned the release of a young man arrested for assault on cutting and maintaining his hair “nice and short.”
Hussain Niras, 22, was brought to a remand hearing to the Laamu Atoll Gan magistrate court on September 29. He had spent five days at a remand center. A judge released him on the condition that he would cut his hair within three days.
The agreement said Niras would be jailed if he did not maintain a short haircut for three months.
“I agree to the conditions stated above. If not, I am aware that the court made issue a warrant to arrest me,” the agreement said.
Hussein Shameem, the former deputy prosecutor general and a partner at Aequitas Legal Consultants, has appealed the order at the High Court.
A court can only hold an individual in remand if there is reason to believe they may tamper with evidence, fail to attend court or abscond from trial, Shameem noted in the appeal filed yesterday.
“The laws clearly state the circumstances under which an individual can be held in custody, and getting a ‘nice and short’ haircut is not one of them,” Shameem, who is working pro bono on the case, said.
The criminal court, on numerous occasions this year, conditioned the release of protesters on staying away from further protests. Opposition MPs Ahmed Mahloof and Fayyaz Ismail spent weeks in police custody earlier this year after they refused to adhere to the conditions.
The High Court in April ruled the criminal court’s order unconstitutional.
Fayyaz in a tweet called the hair-cut order “unacceptable.”
This is NOT acceptable. This is being deliberately done by judiciary to test the patience of the public. pic.twitter.com/yCecz9CKCR
— Fayyaz Ismail (@faya_i) September 29, 2015
The now-defunct Police Integrity Commission in 2011 called for the prosecution of former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohamed Rishwan for ordering police officers to forcibly cut the hair of several young men arrested in a 2010 operation to curb gang violence. Rishwan denied the allegations.